Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Yesterday 3 different items I'd ordered a while ago all arrived at the same time. A CD of Robert Calvert's Lucky Leif and the Longships

, a signed copy of Jess Nevins A Blazing World

and the first issue of Following Cerebus.

Lots of reading to catch up on. I also managed to order a copy of Bryan Talbot's The Adventures of Luther Arkwright which I'm devouring at the moment not to mention True Brit and annotating Promethea #31, etc etc. so quite busy at the moment which is how I like to be.
And in the middle of all this reading I managed to finally see The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. A great acting opportunity for Geoffrey Rush. Not only does he get to play Sellers and recreate lots of great movie moments from his most famous films but he also managed to 'cameo' in the roles of his wife, his mother, his father, Stanley Kubrick, Blake Edwards and numerous other people connected with Sellers life. Very intriguing way of doing a biography. It starts off with animated credits reminiscent of the Pink Panther ones with every character in the animations having the face of Sellers. A bit like that bit in Being John Malkovich when Malkovich himself enters the portal and everyone he sees is played by himself. This dates back to a very old Buster Keaton film where he played every memeber of a musical orchestra.
Nice roles for John Lithgow and Stephen Fry. Also Miriam Margolyes as the overbearing Jewish mother but it was really Rush's movie and he made the most of the challenges.
Quite a good film if a bit of a downer as it concentrates on the negative aspects of his life with very few genuinely happy moments for Mr. Sellers. At one point he walks past a mirror only to notice that there's no reflection of him in it.
"There used to be a me but I had him surgically removed".
It seems to imply that Chauncey Gardiner in Being There was partly based on his own father but I remember reading somewhere that he also based his acting of the role on Stan Laurel as he was in his old age.
Also I think the film would have been a bit more interesting if it had delved a little bit into his earlier life especially his stint in the army during World War II which I think had an enormous effect on anyone living in that era. Spike Milligan was basically a manic depressive and I think a lot of that came from his experiences during the war. Maybe the same was true for Sellers.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Today is the day of the publication of the penultimate Promethea. #31 which has the same title as Issue #1
The Radiant Heavenly City
I'll try and annotate it as soon as I can

4 Color Heroes

The other night I watched some of a documentary about Leonard Cohen promoting his old album Ten New Songs.

At one point he said something like

"I never wanted to work for pay but I did want to be paid for my work"

Monday, August 23, 2004

Oh Carol!

Here's a picture of the scrumptious Carol Cleveland to complement the recent Vanity Fair one of the Pythons in coffins. A shame they couldn't have used her in the original photo

and here's another picture of how she looked back in the '70s as she appeared in the milkmen sketch on the Python TV show.

Reading: Suicide Blonde: The Life of Gloria Grahame by Vincent Curcio.
Gloria Grahame is probably best remembered these days as the girl who "cain't say 'no'" in the film version of Oklahoma or else as the moll who gets a pot of hot scalding coffee thrown over one side of her face by Lee Marvin in The Big Heat.
The title comes not from the INXS song but from an old music hall gag:

1st comic: That dame is some tomato.
Do you think everything she's got is real?

2nd comic: Nah, she's a suicide blonde.
1st comic: A suicide blonde? What's that?
2nd comic: Dyed by her own hand

Something interesting I didn't know about her was that her
grandfather was Reginald Francis Hallward, a painter and illustrator noted for his ceramics, stained glass...mystical illustrations and portraits. In his youth, he was an intimate friend of both George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde...Concerning Wilde, there was a story that became a family legend. It seems taht one day Reggie was in his studio doing a portrait of a yound man, and Wilde stopped by to note the progress. He remarked on the beauty of the painging; Reggie politely agreed, but rather wistfully suggested thnat it would be a much better thing if the model could stay young and beautiful, with the picture instead growing older and losing its beauty. Wilde said not a word, and left. In the course of his life, Reggie went back to his family in the country, to continue his work. some time later, a book called The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, was serialized in a magazine, and Reggie was astonished to open it up and discover that the "picture" was painted by a character named Basil Hallward, and was even more astonished to discover that the character was a sinister debauche who leads the eponymous Dorian into a rather thinly disguised life of perversion, and is murdered by him in the end. Not exactly a work of high moral tone with which to be associated in the public consciousness. If Reggie was astonished, his extremely straitlaced parents were apopleptic, refusing to speak to him for "obviously" appearing in a sensational novelette by "that poseur." When asked why did it, Wilde said, "But Reggie, I just wanted to make you famous." Reggie averred that fame and notoriety were two different things, and didn't speakd to him again for years. But at the end, when Wilde was dying alone and broke and in disgrace in Paris, Reginal Hallward got on a boat to go to see him to offer him what friendship he could
- pgs. 18-19

Gloria's older sister actually used to think the prayer went:
"Our father who art in heaven. Hallward Be Thy Name" when she was a little girl.

Listening to: Roger Waters Amused to Death

I looked over Jordan and what did I see?
I saw a US marine in a pile of debris

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Rush Request

Tonight a friend of mine and I are off to see Geoffrey Rush introducing on stage the film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers in which he plays the starring role.
Just a short time ago in the library where I work I got a rush request to be filled within two hours and it was for the book The Life and Death of Peter Sellers by Roger Lewis. When I told someone else at work about it they joked about it being a Rush request.

Aftermath to previous post above
Never rely on a friend to do something for you when you can do it yourself. After getting my friend to phone up about seeing Geoffrey Rush at the premiere tonight and him being told that half the tickets had sold out and you could only buy them directly at the cinema. (ie you couldn't book them) Today he rang back only to get an answering machine saying that the session had sold out. No seats left.
Never rely on a friend. Do everything yourself.
Oh well I suppose I can read about it in tomorrow's paper but it won't be the same as actually being there and seeing Mr. Rush introduce the film.
C'est la vie.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Harpo Marx = God !!!

In a letter I wrote to Cerebus illustrator/writer Dave Sim amongst other things I asked him if he'd do an illustration of Harpo Marx for Following Cerebus and his reply was

I suppose it's possible that I might do a Harpo drawing for Following
Cerebus at some point. You know, for years the ending of Cerebus was
going to feature a pull back to a ghostly image of two hands furiously
strumming the harp and then plucking a final note or two and pulling
back to reveal Harpo looking angelically heavenward. I thought it
would be a nice touch until I realized the literalist secular audience I had.
"You mean Harpo Mars is God?"
With regret I left it on the cutting room floor. Maybe I'll draw it

I think Harpo would make a great God. He doesn't speak so people would
misinterpret his mimes a la Chico.

"a snake" :-)

click image for publication details

A friend of mine in Germany sent me a copy of Bang 5 which contains a reprint of Alan Moore: An Extraordinary Gentleman [A Biographic composed and arranged by Gary Spencer Millidge] which can be found on pgs 11-22 of Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman

In the Bang version it's almost twice as big, in color and printed on much better quality paper. Pity it's in French which I can't read but then again not being able to read the text means that I concentrate much more on the visuals which include quite a few photos of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie plus various of Alan's friends. Also great to see all the images so big that you can make out the image much better such as Alan looking at a copy of A Small Killing in one panel and the Hawkwind saxophonist is much more visible upside down in a teacup.

For those of you who can read French:

Apres Herge, Martin Luther King et Pascin, Alan Moore est devenu lui-meme un personnage de BD, l'espace d'une biographie dessinee par l'Anglais Gary Spencer Millidge et inedite en francais.

A friend of mine recommended Robert Redford's film The Legend of Bagger Vance to me pointing out what a lot of critics don't seem to have realized or at least pointed out basically that the story is really The Bhagavad Gita on the Golf Course.
Once you realize that the film makes a lot more sense and is much more interesting than most criticisms allow.

"Bagger Vance" and "R.Junah" are representations of Bhagavan (Krishna) and Arjuna, from the Hindu text "The Bhagavad Gita". The lessons learned by Rannulph are loosely based on those Krishna teaches to Arjuna while masquerading as his lowly chariot driver.

It's also the last film of Jack Lemmon who appears at the start and end and also narrates but doesn't receive a screen credit.

Latest CD bought is Hype
by Robert Calvert. Nice cover. Recorded in the wake of John Lennon's death it concerns a rock star who is shot shortly after making it big in the industry and was recorded to accompany a novel of the same name. From Voiceprint the new CD has some extra alternate version tracks not on the original LP.

"She asked me was I ever into Fellini
And what did I think of Godard
I tried to imagine her in a bikini
And didn't find it was hard

She said have you seen that Fritz Lang movie
Where the hero loses his soul
I said I didn't think it was groovy
I'm more into rock and roll"
- Over My Head

Friday, August 13, 2004

Happy Birthday, Fred

It's Alfred Hitchcock's birthday today.

Thanks for all the thrills Al and a big Moo from any actors to you

"I didn't say actors are cattle.
What I said was, actors should be treated like cattle"

- Alfred Hitchcock

Listening to Robert Calvert's Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters

"G for Germany"

"It would be an honour to crash in such a plane"

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Rare Album on CD

Vivian Stanshall's LP Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead is available on CD albeit in a not the best quality copy. See my entry for June 21st this year. You can purchase it from Metro Music for a mere $15 (US).
Just do a search on Vivian Stanshall and the first item that comes up is The Forgotten Genius of Vivian Stanshall The Men opening umbrellas LP Plus rare singles & outtakes-hot

I got my copy the other day. The sound quality on MOUA isn't the best but I've heard worse and it's better than not getting to hear it at all.
Track list for the CD other than MOUA is
Labio Dental Fricative
Paper Round
Blind Date
Baba Tunde
The Young Ones
Are You Havin' Any Fun?
The Question
and at the end not listed but on the CD is a different version (from the Bonzo Album one) of 11 Moustachioed Daughters.

Sounds like they just played the LP and recorded it without bothering to remove any fluff from the record. Some nice color photos of Vivian on the back inside cover (9 in all) including one where he looks like Moses but is holding a cardboard cutout lightning bolt instead of the 10 commandments

The label reads HYACINTH 057
and the cover is the same as MOUA but with The Forgotten Genius of replacing the title and in B&W instead of color (although the road sign effect is still in red)

When I told his widow Ki about it she replied:
The stuff that goes on. But as Silky [their daughter]and I know, if not for this kind of thing, where would Vivian be? Do wish the quality was better for your listening pleasure. He would grieve. Not at the bootlegging, or the releasing of unauthorized material, but at the quality. Perfectionist, my Beasht.

and about the title
Is he really? Forgotten? He was never well known. He is better known
now that when he skipped the earth. He is not forgotten. His myth is

Dave Sim is giving away free copies of the Sandman parody issue of Cerebus and all you have to do is write him a letter asking for one:

If you'd like to read one of the Sandman parody issues of Cerebus,
Dave will send you one. He'll send it to you very happily, free of
charge. He will sign it for you, too. And he won't charge you a
thing. Not even postage.

And if you're wondering what the catch is, it's this: Dave wants to
know (as, I have to admit, do I) how many of the people out there in
internet-land will actually go and do things that don't involve
passively clicking on a link and going somewhere interesting. So what
you have to do is write Dave a letter (not an e-mail. Dave doesn't
have e-mail) telling him that you read that he'll send you a signed
Cerebus, and telling him why you'd like him to send you a copy. It's
as easy as that. And, quite possibly as difficult.

The address to write to is:

Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc
P.O. Box 1674 Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2


There's a good interview with Jose Villarubia about Mirror of Love up online at The Modern World

"...before your mind has healed, you’ll wear your madness as a shield"
"Commit him to the garden, Maudlin"
"I beg your pardon
I've got a hardon"
Vivian Stanshall

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Films seen
On Video
Jack Black in School of Rock.
The purpose of rock music is to "Stick it to the man"

Great Artists in the World of Comics : Moore

Click here for an image from the video cover.

VIDEO Moore-(Roland-Collection, UK,?)-British scriptwriter Alan Moore has served to revolutionize the world of comics from a literary point of view. His work on traditional characters and new series has raised the level of comics, taking them to new groups of cultured and more demanding readers.Credits: Director-Alejandro Vallejo; Original Music-Caelo del Rio;28 minutes,color,also available in french and spanish. Orders to sales@rolland-collection.co.uk
You could date when the interview was conducted with Alan by the fact that he refers to the forthcoming Big Numbers as The Mandelbrot Set even though some artwork is shown with the title as Big Numbers

On the big screen Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11.
Despite flaws and exagerrations pointed out by the critics (ie. children in a playground shown playing happily before the bombs hit as the war starts in a scene straight out of the second Terminator movie; leaving out England and Australia from the Coalition of the Willing [but then it was more the leaders of the UK and OZ that sent troops to the war. If it had been put to the vote would England and Australia have gotten involved?]) it still had a lot of valid point to make especially how the media manipulates the emotions of people to keep them in fear. The first film I can remember seeing in I don't know how many years where some of the audience actually clapped when it was all over.

NEW BOOK BOUGHT: The Complete Peanuts 1950 to 1952.

The first of a planned 25 volumes to be published over the next 12 years from Fantagraphics Books.

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